Foraging behaviour and habitat use of large herbivores in a coastal dune landscape = Foerageergedrag en habitatgebruik van grote herbivoren in een kustduinlandschap
Research output: Thesis › Doctoral dissertation - Doctoral dissertation
- Instituut voor Natuurbehoud
|Publication status||Published - 2004|
Different species and breeds of large ungulates have been introduced into several dune reserves along the Belgian coast as a management measure. This research aimed to gain better insights into the (foraging) behaviour and the habitat use of the large herbivores in such a low-productive environment, with a considerable
amount of spatial and temporal heterogeneity. We focused on different herbivore species and breeds, since we expected differences in their foraging behaviour and habitat use, due to their morphological and physiological differences. The central hypothesis is that foraging behaviour reflects the nutritional ecology of the herbivores
and provides a mean to gain insight in the mechanisms determining herbivore impact at the landscape scale.
The (foraging) behaviour and habitat use of Highland cattle, Haflinger horses, Shetland ponies and donkeys, free-ranging in several coastal dune reserves, is described at different hierarchical ecological levels. Possible mechanisms of foraging behaviour have been put forward and we were able to formulate some predictions on herbivore impact.
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